Photo Credit: Where else? Facebook because Zuck said so.
Two people you will probably never see at a holiday dinner exchanging gifts and pleasantries would be Facebook grand poobah Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
One heads up the world’s most innovative company and other leads the world’s stalkers all under one cybernetic roof. We bring that up because Time magazine released a lengthy article about ‘Facebook’s World Plan‘ that discusses Zuckerberg’s global domination to get “every single human being online.”
Yeah, that, and he would like to monetize each one of them, according to Cook…and that’s where the food fight begins.
The article (and well worth the read) is focused on the ambitious Internet.org. However, it wouldn’t be a Facebook party if it weren’t for trolls. And Zuckerberg played that part, as expected.
“A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,” said Zuckerberg. “What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!”
“I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money?” said Cook. “Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried.”
In the light of free, Zuckerberg takes aim at what the Internet introduced as “Anti-Facebook” called Ello.
This is the invitation-only, non-commoditized network that spits in the face of everything Facebook stands for — creating products out of people, tracking their habits, and making ads that monetize those idiosyncrasies. Little things like that.
I asked him about Ello, an upstart for-pay social network built on the premise that it doesn’t show you ads and doesn’t harvest your personal information. When a social network does those things, Ello’s manifesto argues, “You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.” Zuckerberg’s take was, as usual, practical: whatever ethical merits it might have, the business model won’t scale. “Our mission is to connect every person in the world. You don’t do that by having a service people pay for.” I suggest that Facebook’s users are paying, just with their attention and their personal information instead of with cash. A publicist changes the subject.
Betabeat got a hold of Ello’s co-founder Todd Berger, who shared a cacophonus huh for countries like Zambia that could benefit from a free, low-bandwidth app because even impoverished countries have needs to stalk ex-girlfriends too.
“They’re rallying the telecoms and saying, ‘Give our low data consumption app away to your users,’” Mr. Berger told Betabeat. “It’s a bit like aligning yourself with drug dealers and saying, ‘Mix this special blue powder in with your cocaine, and the neighborhood kids will come back and buy even more.’”
And then there was this:
“Freemium is working the world over,” Mr. Berger said, “Versus: ‘No, no, it’s free, it’s free! But we’re selling all your data to god knows who at exorbitant rates in order to create new scams for people who didn’t ask for it.’”
You know, forget the holidays all together. In the world wide web, let’s just move on to Valentine’s Day. Maybe that will help.